Continued from Part 1
Operating System, Software and Performance
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 offers Amazon’s modified version of Android 4.0 (Jelly Bean). It is a lot more clunky and less user-friendly than Jelly Bean. Even though the Amazon app store has several useful apps, several important ones are missing. However, you can easily download the apk files of many popular programs and install them through the ES File Explorer. I will give links to some of the free apk files, but not for apps that you normally would have to purchase.
ES File Explorer, Dolphin Brower, Adobe Flash
VLC Media Player (Beta)
YouTube for Jelly Bean
Your experience with the Kindle Fire 8.9 will be a lot more complete with these files. There are other apk files that you can download, but you will need to do a simple Google search for those.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 packs a 1.5MHz dual-core TI OMAP 4470 processor that delivers a decent — if not perfect — performance. There is a small delay when launching applications and the stock browser, Silk, is extremely slow. You will want to download the apk file for the Dolphin Browser (link is above) and install it through a file viewing program such as ES File Explorer (link above).
Since the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is advertised mostly as a media device, you can bet it does all types of media very well. Music plays very well through the Dolby stereo speakers. Unfortunately, the stock video player doesn’t play all formats, so you will need to download the Beta version of the VLC Media Player.
The Hulu Plus and Netflix apps worked very well on a connection that was only 600kbps. On many Android devices, such as the Galaxy Note 2 and the Galaxy S3, movies take a long time to load. This isn’t the case with the Kindle Fire HD.
The best part about watching videos on the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is the Dolby stereo sound, which is very lifelike. It’s safe to say that because of the high resolution, good color reproduction and fantastic sound, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is definitely the best portable video player on the market today.
Let’s not forget the original reason Amazon launched the Kindle — to read books. The stock book-reading app is fantastic and if you are too lazy to read, just activate the Text-to-Speech feature, which works well. It will remind you of the time your 4th grade teacher read to you in class.
The 1MP camera in front of the Kindle Fire HD works very well on Skype. There were no hiccups in the sound or video display from my tests. You can also take 1MP pictures and 720p video clips with this camera, which works impressively considering that it is on the front of a tablet.
Continue to Part 3